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Seipkes calls it a career

Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary teaching veteran Mary Seipkes has retired after 36 years.

Seipkes was one of four second-grade teachers in the system last year. She informed WDC elementary principal Louis Rutten of her decision June 1.

"She felt it was time," Rutten said. "I thought it would be another three to four years before she'd retire."

Rutten praised Seipkes as a teacher who always put her students first.

"She would do anything for her students," Rutten said. "She put in a lot of extra time."

Seipkes is known as a good volunteer who enjoys kids.

"While I look forward to enjoying my retirement, I will miss teaching," Seipkes said in a letter to the school board. "It has been a pleasure from the first day I student taught here."

The quiet retirement of one of WDC's most experienced teachers comes at a time when the district is trimming the second grade sections from four to three. The district will proceed into the 2009-10 school year with Carol Tornquist, Vicki Smith and Linda Macklanburg teaching the second grade.

The board approved new contracts for Brian Silbernick (activities director, math), Naomi Moerke (secondary special education), Luke Sturm (physical education, health), Amy Friedrichs (Family and Consumer Science) and Scott Endres (social studies).

In other developments, WDC tennis and girls' varsity basketball coach Darin Carstens resigned along with secondary teacher Elizabeth Hawkins.

Carstens wants to pursue a full-time teaching position. His full-time position in the WDC district was cut in 2007 and he worked as a substitute teacher in 2008-09.

Hawkins declined to accept a .5 position from the district.

The board also approved a maternity leave for secondary science teacher Sheri Nyhus.